BOONE, N.C. — During the offseason, appstatesports.com will catch up with former and current Appalachian State University women’s basketball players. Today, we visit with former Mountaineer standout, Maryah Sydnor.
Sydnor has helped the Horsholm 79’ers to a solid 13-5 record and a second-place standing in the league. The program’s third all-time leading scorer leads the 79’ers in scoring averaging 15.3 points per game and rebounding at 9.1 rebounds per contest. In 21 games, Sydnor ranks eighth in scoring, fourth in rebounding and efficiency, eighth in plus/minus and 31st in assists. We caught up with Sydnor as she discusses everything from adjusting to life overseas to the difference in playing styles between the U.S. and overseas.
1.) Since graduating from App, what has been your path to where you are now playing for the 79’ers?
After finishing my senior season at App and upon graduation, I participated in a combine at the women’s final four where I met and signed with an agent. I received a few overseas opportunities and decided to play in Finland my first season. Unfortunately, the season didn’t last long for me as I tore my ACL in the third game. I returned home for surgery and rehab and worked my way back into playing shape. Last spring I reached out to a coach in Denmark who had previously contacted me before I decided on Finland. We connected for a while, and I signed with the 79’ers.
2.) What country are the Horsholm 79’ers located in, and what other countries do you travel to when you play?
Hørsholm is in Denmark, about 30 minutes north of Copenhagen. The league is just played within Denmark, so the furthest we actually travel is about six hours.
3.) When you did move overseas for the first time, how hard was it adapting to another culture and lifestyle?
The move to Finland was a much tougher transition than my move to Denmark. There was a lot I was unsure about and then adapting to the culture and language was a new challenge. I learned a lot which helped me be more prepared for this second go-around in Denmark. Finland was a good test run for the overseas lifestyle.
4.) What has been your favorite part about playing overseas?
My favorite part about playing overseas has been meeting new people and learning about and experiencing the country. The fact that I get to say I lived in another country to play basketball is really cool to me and an experience I will cherish.
5.) What are some similarities and differences between playing in the United States and internationally?
As far as similarities go between the U.S. and overseas, the object of the game and the competitiveness is all similar. Everyone wants to win and will do what it takes. The differences are easier to state. The game is much more physical over here. We have a few plays and sets but nothing compared to college and that’s partly due to only having 24 seconds on the shot clock. There is a lot more 1-on-1 play here. It’s common for the age range of the team to be from teens to 30-year olds (my team for example- our youngest is 17 and oldest is 31). Practices are run differently- you might do some warm-up drills and shooting for an hour and then play 5v5 for the next hour. There isn’t as much breakdown work and practicing different schemes over here. But overall, aside from a few minor differences in the rules, the game between the lines is pretty similar.
6.) How has your game improved since graduating from App State?
I would say II’ve just tried to better myself as a complete player on both ends of the floor. I take my shots when I have them, but I also look for the extra pass to get my teammates involved. I try to do my best for our team to succeed.
7.) What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not playing?
In my spare time, which there is a lot of, I like to read, watch movies, walk around and explore. I go to Copenhagen every once in awhile to walk around, shop, but really to people watch. I’m also a coach for one of the youth teams, so that fills some of my spare time!
8.) What has been your favorite memory thus far playing internationally?
My favorite memory playing overseas was having my family here and getting to share my experience with them. My aunt came for a week in November to visit. She saw a game and we explored the city, castles, shopped, and just had fun. And my parents came for about two weeks in January. They saw three games and I was able to experience a little more with them. I really enjoyed sharing this opportunity with some of the people that helped me get here.
9.) How did attending and playing at App State get you ready for this chapter in your playing career?
Playing at App definitely set me up for this chapter of my career. I learned a lot about the game, a lot about myself, and how to take and face challenges head-on. The experiences I had at App equipped me with the ability and confidence to make the best of situations and no matter what, feel assured that I gave my best.
10.) If you filled out a bracket -- men's or women's --- who did you pick in your final 4?
I didn’t fill out a bracket myself, but I had some input on my sister’s … it’s busted!! We had Villanova, Arizona, Kansas, and Kentucky in the men's final four.